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Maps reveal how each U.S. state enforces drug laws differently
Drug use and arrests are rising overall, but those changes vary depending on the state.
- Detox.net recently published maps that use the latest government data on drug use and arrests to show how enforcement varies across the country.
- Marijuana arrests remain significantly high in many states, even in some where pot's legalized.
- Methamphetamine is, by far, the drug most commonly involved in drug-related offenses across the country.
American law enforcement agencies made 1.63 million arrests for drug law violations in 2017, according to FBI data. That's nearly a 4 percent increase from 2016, and it breaks down to about one drug arrest every 20 seconds. About 85 percent of those arrests were for possession.
The 2017 National Drug Use And Health survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that drug use and availability are on the rise across the country. At the state level, however, the data illustrate a varied and more nuanced picture.
Detox.net, an online addiction treatment resource owned by the company American Addictions Centers, recently published a report highlighting the different ways in which states charge and punish drug offenders.
In 30 states, methamphetamine was the drug most frequently involved in drug-related offenses for 2017.
That's partly because meth is more tightly regulated, controlled and monitored than other drugs, as Dr. Stephen Pannel, medical director of Oxford Treatment Center in Mississippi, told Big Think.
"Crystal meth is the drug most frequently seen in criminal offenses, because possessing just a small amount can lead to very significant criminal consequences," Dr. Pannel said. "Once a person is hooked on meth, it requires a large amount to maintain the habit. This usually leads to criminal behaviors including theft, to support the habit with money."
Marijuana was the most cited drug in offenses for only two states in 2017. Still, it's surprising to note that, despite increasingly lax cultural attitudes and the legalization of pot in 10 states, marijuana arrests are actually on the rise, with one person being arrested every 48 seconds, according to FBI data released in September.
The map above shows the percentage of total drug offenses attributable to marijuana in 2017. Each state clearly varies in how it pursues marijuana enforcement, especially those which have decriminalized pot, such as Connecticut, Delaware and New Hampshire. Interestingly, Colorado still arrests many people for marijuana offenses, which can include public consumption, illegal sales and underage possession.
A more consistent pair of metrics across the states are the rates of plea deals and prison sentences for drug offenses.
Rhode Island stands out with an exceptionally low share of drug offenses ending in prison time, likely a result of the state's move to roll back mandatory minimum sentencing in recent years.
The rates of sentencing might be fairly consistent on the national level, but the severity of punishment seems to vary across the states, with Iowa as the strictest state and Arizona as the most relaxed.
A 'wake-up' call
Dr. Pannel said he hopes the report helps draw attention to the drug epidemic in the U.S.
"This study serves as a wake-up call on the magnitude of the problem and how the drug epidemic is impacting our criminal justice system. What it shows is that millions of Americans are charged with drug-related crimes and many are incarcerated for it. We hope this will help start a conversation about the need for treatment to help deter these types of crimes."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum